Tadd Fujikawa has opened up about his sexuality.
The professional golfer from Hawaii revealed in a lengthy Instagram post on Monday — the same day as World Suicide Prevention Day — that he is gay. In doing so, Fujikawa encouraged his fans to practice more empathy towards one another and made a promise to continue fighting for equality for the LGBTQ community.
“Coincidentally, today is world suicide prevention day,” the 27-year-old golfer began the post. “However, I was going to share this regardless. So…I’m gay. Many of you may have already known that.”
Added Fujikawa: “I don’t expect everyone to understand or accept me. But please be gracious enough to not push your beliefs on me or anyone in the LGBTQ community. My hope is this post will inspire each and every one of you to be more empathetic and loving towards one another.”
Fujikawa revealed to his 4,600 followers that he was uncertain about revealing his sexuality, as initially, he felt it was not necessary “because it doesn’t matter if anyone knows.” However, it was the bravery from others who had previously come out before him that motivated the golfer to share his own truth.
“I remember how much other’s stories have helped me in my darkest times to have hope,” he wrote. “I spent way too long pretending, hiding, and hating who I was. I was always afraid of what others would think/say.”
The player went on to explain that the fear he was experiencing about whether or not people would accept him put a strain on his mental health for years.
He also mentioned that while the LGBTQ community is much “more accepted in our society today,” there are still people suffering from ridicule and discrimination, with some resorting to suicide because of it.
“As long as those things are still happening, I will continue to do my best to bring more awareness to this issue and to fight for equality,” Fujikawa explained. “Whether the LGBTQ is what you support or not, we must liberate and encourage each other to be our best selves, whatever that may be. It’s the only way we can make this world a better place for future generations.”
The professional golfer reminded his fans that being yourself is enough and dared them to change the world for the better.
“YOU ARE LOVED AND YOU ARE ENOUGH…AS IS, EXACTLY AS YOU ARE!” Fujikawa wrote. “I can’t wait for the day we all can live without feeling like we’re different and excluded. A time where we don’t have to come out, we can love the way we want to love and not be ashamed.”
According to Golf.com, Fujikawa qualified for the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot when he was 15-years-old, becoming the youngest player to ever do so. In 2010, he won the Hawaiian State Open and recently repeated the tournament victory in 2017.
Following Fujikawa’s announcement on Monday, the PGA Tour shared the news on Twitter, confirming that he is the first openly gay professional male golfer.